Monday, October 13, 2014

Disney World 2013: Day 7 - EPCOT’s World Food Tasted, and FastPasses Wasted

Although we were near dead the night before, the first day of EPCOT on our park clumped vacation inspired another early rising.  It was a little slow getting everything together after plopping and dropping.  We made a bus that got us there shortly after park opening.  The driver was out of the transportation cards but had reams of stickers, like everyone else.   I started to wonder if one could swim in little round Disney adhesives. 

Some grandparents from Pennsylvania were the first of many to favorably comment on my Lone Ranger shirt. I can only assume its desire to return caused it to forcibly knock the Tron shirt it replaced on the roster off the hanger.  Then it made sure to keep it in the back of the closet until the next calendar year.

They also commented, though unfavorably, on the ill-behaved child sharing the bus with us who was threatening (and occasionally attempting) to kick everyone.  Free speech rights get expanded as a perk of being old.  Their grandson was absolutely flabbergasted at the other kid’s behavior, which earned his family a parenting compliment from me.

Passing through baggage check after de-bussing, we were greeted by the early morning “smell” of EPCOT -a slightly more metallic and worldly “scent” than the Magic Kingdom, for those taking notes.  Seasoned guests like us knew to avoid the enormous line for Goofy near the entrance that pulled in visitors with less Disney Crowd Timing Experience.  However, the squadrons of PhotoPass photographers unleashed at park opening and closing allowed us some quick poses (including the smoochie one…ewwww.) in front of the ball.  Part of any Disney vacation is the quest for a Christmas card. It involves millions of classic poses in front of impressive sights, and usually ends up being a silly one.

The Soarin’ FastPass Plus was scheduled for the first hour of Park operation.  The fact that we had no problem making it on our “late” day should be a strong indication of the kind of schedule we kept.  The wait was only fifteen minutes, but we decided to use the pass anyway to start at a fast pace, as there wasn’t much else we needed them for in EPCOT.  Anabelle took that idea literally and ran down the empty queue area to the loading point.  Of course she did stop briefly to observe the obligatory moment of silence for the Kitchen Cabaret…

Cha. Cha. Cha.

Patrick Warburton demonstrated that he’s a perfect fit for the Disney mind set in the video that introduced the crazy awesome experience.  We met a flip flop shod couple from California on the ride, who pointed out we could put our backpacks between rows if we couldn’t fit them into the undercarriage.  (As opposed to other parks I could mention that forced the use of lockers *cough*Universal*cough*) I said, I’d rather squeeze it in as it preserved the realism of the journey.  He liked that attitude, and my Aquaman Chuck Taylors.  It was a very superhero friendly crowd in EPCOT that day.

One of the most immersive elements of Soarin’ is the scents:
Sea spray.

They must have a heck of an air filtration system to keep the smells from overlapping during and after the ride…
Not to mention keeping the California aromas from being overwhelmed by sweaty Florida tourists.

When Soarin’ first opened, the Living with the Land boat ride had ultra-extended waits from the overflow.  I guess the new people figured out that not only is it one of the last remnants of old “education before thrills” EPCOT, but also the least dynamic of those rides.  It was a walk on that day, and almost any other day I’ve checked on line.

Well, except one day the website listed a two hour wait out of nowhere.  That was the same day the small world showed a similar back log earlier.  Apparently an army of slow boat fans descended on Walt’s Florida project.

The “waste” of our Soarin’ FastPass left us time before our next appointment to try it out.  The ride was still cute and informative, and the opening animatronics provided some replacement for the closed for repairs Jungle Cruise. 
The only real changes I noticed since my last run, ages ago, were the excessive plugging of bananas by the new sponsor (Chiquita) and the removal of “Listen to the Land.”  Sadly, that catchy ditty used to be the best part of the ride.  Happily, Anabelle got over not hearing the song by singing it from the end of the ride all the way to our next location.

The Character Spot had zero wait time, as it did throughout the entire vacation.  Take that, people on the crazy long Goofy entrance line.  We wasted our FastPass anyway, because it was fun using the Magic Bands, and sneaking in the secret entrance.

The first “standard costume” meeting with Mickey was everything wonderfully Disney, with much happiness all around. 
Pluto was also fun, and there were some birthday exchanges between him and Anabelle, who was able to figure out the mime this time.

Minnie received one of Anabelle’s colored pictures and was super-crazy-ecstatically-happy.  She wrote her entire autobiography in the pink fluffy princess book after an extended cutesy dance.

Filled with Mousely cheer, we continued the fun character trend in the Imagination Pavilion.  The ride was exactly the same as it’s been since Figment came back. We don’t care, we love it, and we go on it multiple times on every trip.

And Rosa is surprised by the end “explosion” every time. 

I noticed something new on this journey: the Medfield College and tennis shoe references around the computer room…cool!

The Imageworks Imagination Playground had been redone since our last adventures.  Dad’s favorite musical conductor and the stepping sound images were still there, though. Thanks for not always losing the classics, EPCOT. 
There was a new color bar across one wall that worked like a giant, multi-player Simon.  The screens that used to house photo taking e-postcards were all replaced with the more controllable “Design a Figment” attraction. 

Deciding that she wanted to increase the rate my hair is falling out, Anabelle gave up on fairies and princesses to choose a green screen picture with the Disney Heroes, which were all boys.  A retake was needed, he said feeling the draft on his head, because she needed to be nearer to Aladdin.   Interestingly, though characters from underperforming films like Hercules still made the cut, the two “Prince Charmings” were not deemed heroic enough to join the team.  Or perhaps it is impossible to photograph the “two” of them together.

The photo area was a little sad, with one section completely abandoned and forlorn.  The capability of an entire Kodak film processing room had been replaced by a single laptop and printer.

The popularity of the Lone Ranger and superheroes in general continued in EPCOT.  Yet another conversation of the decline of Disney Park shirt quality was cut short to allow us to catch the movie upstairs before our lunch reservation. 

The creepy pens with Disney characters’ heads that popped out their shrunken bodies at the push of a button hastened our exit.

Anabelle had never been to the 3D Movie entrance in the Imagination Pavilion.  It was her first chance to marvel at, and get hit by, the tiny, but excessively nifty laminar flow jumping fountains.

It was then time for my family’s first (and according to them, last) journey with Captain EO.

The pre-show video explained the time and idea of the film’s creation, but for people with no connection to American 80’s pop culture, it was a long strange trip.  This was especially true of Anabelle, who had no idea what a Michael Jackson was.

Her review:  “Kinda cool, but whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?”

Because it dates back to an earlier less throughput conscious era of Disney World, the film was longer than most new attractions.  That didn’t really build up a line outside the joint though.

Somehow the combined Fever Dream of Jim Henson, Francis Ford Coppola, and George Lucas about an effeminate musical Power Ranger and his space plushies using dance to transform the robots of Angelica Huston as Mecha-Lolth didn’t click with modern audiences.

Go figure.

Another of many Disney Dining Plan approved snack stops at a Starbucks (Fountain View for addicts following along) came as we crossed Future World.  The normally disposable cup became an instant souvenir when Rosa noted it said “Starbucks” and “Disney Parks” opposite each other. She may have been humming “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things” as she drank.

Crossing into World Showcase, I planned to use the PhotoPass folks to get our required picture at each country. Therefore, I suggested leaving the tripod at home to prevent us from carrying its extra weight on the EPCOT Death March around World Showcase Lagoon.  The slight problem with the plan is there were barely any PhotoPass folks on that side of EPCOT. This guaranteed us a second EPCOT Death March two days later, tempting the curse of the past two second EPCOT Death Marches that turned me into a RAVING LUNATIC. 

The first location we reached over the bridge from Future World was Duffy’s kiosk.  Mickey’s teddy bear was growing in popularity in some circles, and the excited Japanese women waiting let Anabelle see why I kept asking if she was from that country when she’d ask about him.  The line was short, allowing us time to stop on our lunch run, much to Anabelle’s delight.  Even on a generic and basic costume like a Teddy Bear, the fact that Disney’s suits had no visible zippers put them a fluffy head and shoulders above more iconic characters at Universal.

After our Duffy time we, and the family ahead of us on line, ran to Norway to make our Akershus Royal Banquet Hall lunch reservation.  Honestly, if the Princess meal was further into World Showcase; we would plan better for it and not have to run every time.

The Handler commented that we were “seasoned” at the Disney experience, as we had our reservation slip, bags, and pink fluffy princess book all ready for meeting Belle when she welcomed us.  Anabelle was too star struck to remember to point out the earrings she was wearing with pictures of the princess on them. Since it was Belle, I was too star struck to remind her.  She went back up to show her during a lull in the line, and also said her cousins said hi.  Belle was suitably excited, and for the first and only time, noticed her name was contained within Anabelle’s.  She also looked more like the makeover Belle than the classic one, seeming very young.  This probably meant that she was absolutely normal aged for a princess, and I was old.

The food, as always was amazing, with enough of a mix of Norwegian flavors to be interesting without being weird.   Once our seating session was fully established, Belle could hit the coffee break room, and the parade of the other princesses began.

Cinderella came first, and continued the trend of rounder faced princesses.  I’m not sure if that’s conscious style guide choices by Disney, or coincidence.  She also looked kinda Latin…maybe the sun reflects strongly off her glass slippers and increases her tan.

Aurora came next, continuing the Princessy joy with birthday greetings, and fantasy fun.  Snow White followed and was on the chatty side, flipping through the pink fluffy princess book to talk about who else Anabelle had met.

The greetings were put on hold for the Princess Procession.  Aurora passed back by our table, and selected the (participation pendulum back on the exuberantly happy to be picked side) birthday girl to walk with her at the head of her processing group.  Once they returned, curtsying to all, the normal (if meeting beloved, well portrayed and heartwarming fantasy figures can be called normal) interactions continued with Ariel.
She was, again, bubbly (ha!) and cheerfully yelled, “Say FISHIES!” for the picture.

Rosa came up with an idea at this point. Instead of Anabelle merely telling their favorites that her equally princess happy cousins said, “Hello,” we could use the massive technology of the “internet in your pocket” SmartPhone, and get videos of the royal ladies returning their greetings.

Aurora was still loitering around our table after the procession. Rosa hopped up, phone in hand, and explained that our Aurora wasn’t with us this time.  Their Aurora happily waved at the little electronic box and proclaimed a Disney greeting.

Snow White, or Apple Girl, as Veronica called her, was only a short distance away and looked to be heading back toward us.  Unfortunately, she faked left, and then went right toward the coffee break room.  I think she played running back for Florida State.

We explained what we’d done and planned to do to our waiter, and asked if Apple Girl could pass our table again when she came back out.  He went to check with the handlers, while we took advantage of the delay. With the princess excitement, it was very easy to forget to eat the fantastical food.

I’m not sure if he misunderstood, or was following a scripted answer, but he let us know the Princesses were resting now and couldn’t come back out.  We understood, thanked him, and asked him to sign Anabelle’s birthday card from the princesses.  We always ask the wait staff to sign, because they’re Awesome Happy Disney People who add to the atmosphere and write cool things on the cards.

And in EPCOT, the cool things are in other languages.

The fact that Belle came out to greet the next crop of guests, and was very different looking than when we had met her (which I’d never seen before with a face character) was a pretty strong indication why Snow White wouldn’t pass by again.  I guess Disney was highly protective of its magical plastic surgery ray.

Since we were already in Norway on the wonderfully empty off season, we hopped on the Maelstrom with almost no line, once again forgetting to look for the Viking in Mickey ears. That meant we had to go back. Yay!  Pointing out to Rosa that the drops were in the same size range as the small ones on Splash Mountain wasn’t all that reassuring. This was especially true when we got to the section she forgot:


Post ride we did stay for the movie.  Its picturesque and informative nature took our attention partially away from the unpleasantly uncomfortable chairs.

Exiting into (yet again) the gift shop, let Anabelle get her coloring Duffy with which to collect stamps and birthday greetings around the world.  Rosa picked out a Viking costume shirt because she said it was “me.”  I can’t really argue with that.  It was like shopping in the Big and Tall and Furry department.

Since Rosa and Anabelle were wearing their matching Grand Fiesta Tour shirts, we stepped half a country back to meet with Mariachi Donald.  The ladies piled all the backpacks, cameras and other gear on to my head and flocked around El Pato Donald.  Between the shirts, and the picture Anabelle colored for him, Donald was the happiest duck in a sombrero I’ve ever seen.

That probably isn’t saying much, but trust me, he was really happy.

On the way back out of Mexico, a large and weird bug bit Rosa under her Magic Band.  No idea what it was as the evil little thing got mashed to bits under the band.  It left a legacy of itching that had Rosa taking Benadryl for several days, no doubt enhancing the Disney color scheme.

With the Death March begun in earnest, we were checking show and character schedules around the lagoon.  We had been brainwashed by our FastPass Plus and reservation times, and forgot that characters weren’t only there at the start of the posted times.  We were half past China when we realized; “It’s only ten minutes later, Mulan’s probably still there.”

She was and Anabelle put another notch in her Princess belt.  The girl in front of us on line asked the question I’ve complained about since they switched Mulan out of her armor and drafted her into the princesses to cover the Asian demographic.

“Why are you wearing the dress you hated in the movie?”

Because Happy Disney people are Awesome, she answered without missing a beat:
“Grandmother dressed me today.”

Only Mulan was there, Mushu stopped appearing with her prior to our last visit. They’d pretty much kicked all the male sidekicks or princes out of World Showcase. The princesses were all alone as a show of female strength, or perhaps narrow minded marketing.  Only Aladdin remained, likely because in all fairness, it was his movie.

The lack of PhotoPass folks led to a crisis.  Rosa’s Super Deluxe Magical Camera memory card was full, and the rest of them were in the big camera bag back behind the giant Play Doh Can.  The backup SmartPhone camera filled in while she deleted doubles and blurry ones at great personal traumatic cost.

This signaled a drastic change in our evening planning procedure.  The method of my collapsing into a death like sleep the moment we entered the room while Rosa packed for the next day, then waking up and double checking everything while she slept clearly wasn’t cutting it.  Rosa and Anabelle took to pelting me with whatever was handy in the room to keep me awake until all preparations were complete.

We continued around the lagoon.  There’s something I find incredibly relaxing about walking through World Showcase. Yes, I realize it is a strong indication of my lack of sanity and the pace we set in Disney that I consider a 1.2 mile walk incredibly relaxing.  It’s one of the places I can simply “be” in Disney and enjoy the feeling. Main Street in the Magic Kingdom is like that too. Not on line, not in a show, not on a ride, just “being” in Disney.

We made Germany in time to be at the front of Snow White’s line, both for Anabelle to meet her in her home country, and to obtain an Apple Girl greeting for Veronica.  Snow VERY White came out to see us, and stood far away from her wishing well to remain in the shade. Given her skin tone, she probably would have combusted in direct Florida sun, and the Germanic architecture was enough for the background.

Recorded greetings complete with skirt twirling (‘cause she’s awesome) in hand, Anabelle went for her Geburtstag Stempel. 

Four years of high school German and I only knew one of those words without looking it up. I suck at languages.

The next stamp stop was Italy.  Knowing a second Death March was already in the cards, it was a brief visit. The Ziti Sisters were performing, but we get enough performances of loud, crazy and embarrassing Italian women at holiday meals.

Reaching the mid-way point around the lagoon, we just missed the start of the American Adventure Pavilion show. I asked the colonial Cast Member about the show length and ended up getting into yet another long Lone Ranger discussion with yet another fan who would have liked to see the film, but Disney lacked faith and pulled it from the theaters too soon.

For shaaaaaaame.

We Hi-Yoed over to Japan for the Duffy stamp, and to spend some time absorbing the culture in the stores.  The candy art demonstration was something we’d never seen before.  Rosa set her sights a little higher watching the pearl lady.  Anabelle spent most of her time looking at the “lucky” cats and trying to figure out which ones we needed.

(She mostly thought it was serenity…on the go Disney time can be stressful.)

Our Death March/Character Trail around World Showcase went way off plan, and I was deleting things all the way ‘round.  Rosa and I held the place for the soon to be arriving Aladdin and Jasmine while Anabelle got one more stamp and an Arabic “Happy Birthday.”  Their meeting location inside the lamp shop was new. That may explain why it generated the longest Disney line of the trip.  Not that I’m complaining, because if I did that about a forty minute line, people who go any other time of year will call me a Disney Sissy.  Anabelle had already met Jasmine in the Castle, but decided she really liked Aladdin now.

Oh look, there goes some more hair.

The Agrabah couple arrived, and true to usual for that park, Aladdin looked very Moroccan.  Jasmine, on the other hand, was definitely a New Yorker, rendering an extra level of awesome on the experience.  Al spent a couple minutes trying to unscrew Anabelle’s pen to sign the pink fluffy princess book, until Jasmine relieved him of it and clicked the cap.
She then broke up and had to lean her face on the wall a bit to compose herself.  After giggling some more at her prince, and flexing her mighty pen opening muscles (and her somewhat scary six pack abs) she returned to character for the rest of the line.

Rosa looked at a red butterfly bracelet she planned to decide she didn’t like as much as she thought when we retuned in two days’time.  That isn’t exactly how she worded it, but I’d played the game before.

The Duffy stamp was, of course, the first order of business in France.  A French Cast Member absolutely LOVED my Lone Ranger shirt.  Have I mentioned enough how badly Disney blew it by not trusting that film?

Having missed the American show, we were tired enough to try the Reflections of France Half a 360° Theater. 

How tired? 

Rosa and Anabelle made silly faces next to the gargoyle with its tongue statue sticking out.
Anabelle said, “Did you know ‘oui’ means yes in French, and sometimes they say ‘wee-wee’.” This caused us to both collapse in hysterics.

The film was pretty and all, but honestly, I skip that track on the Disney Parks CDs almost every time.  I think we all nodded off for some much needed rest.  I don’t only mean our family, more than half the theater was yawning and stretching in surprise when the lights came up.

We emerged and passed some merchandise with a creepy, ultra thin, French looking Minnie Mouse on it.  Robin Williams predicted that would happen as soon as Euro Disney opened. She was only missing the cigarette.  We waved to Aurora as we left the pavilion. She was, of course, in her pink dress.  I wonder if she gets to choose the blue in California, where it’s her castle and Cinderella can’t pull rank.

Because we were in EPCOT, a single cloud followed us over to England.  I thought I was still groggy from the France movie because I heard “Crazy Train” coming from the bandstand.  Apparently there was a group that replaced the Beatles cover band that played a wider and more awesome variety of British Tunes.

Alice, who was only slightly less skinny than French Minnie, was headed for her coffee break (or probably a tea break.)  However, Mary Poppins showed up just as we arrived, much to the joy of Anabelle who had gotten used to regular character doses on this Death March.

Inside the English section proper, Anabelle showed more self confidence by chatting to several of the British girls.  She got a big kick in every country out of talking to the people from those lands and asking them questions.  Mostly where the Duffy stamps were, but it was a start.  I’m glad she had someone to talk to because between the swords that have always been there, and the new additions of Monty Python and Doctor Who swag, I was a tad distracted.
I did pay attention enough to remind her to ask how they say, “Happy Birthday” in English.  She got more valuable eye rolling practice for her teenage years at that point.

The second to last location on the clockwise trek under our belts, we passed over the “British to American Translation Guide” helpfully chalked on the walkway en route to Canada.  Off Kilter, the Canadian heavy metal bagpipe band was playing. Sadly they were too loud for my family, but we did get to witness the guy in the Green Lantern shirt and Kilt. He was step dancing mighty impressively along with the band.  It took a bit to figure out that he wasn’t an Awesome Happy Disney Person, but an Awesome Disney Guest.  The magic’s pretty contagious there.

The McGinley EPCOT rainstorm exploded into a full tilt sun shower, sending us running to Canada’s Kidcot station and 360° film.  We were going there anyway, because Martin Short is a hoot, and Anabelle couldn’t miss her Canadian happy birthday. 

Our personal rainstorm continued out of the clear blue sky, and followed us back into Future World and the final show of the day at the Energy Pavilion.  The pre show woke her up, because Anabelle liked Bill Nye.  He and Ellen were entertaining enough to make the fluff tolerable.  Since she knew what to expect from the dinosaurs this time, and some of the loud effects and spitting looked to be broken, she thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
The warnings on that ride are stricter than I remember. If someone hops off the tram mid stream, they have to shut down and evacuate the whole building.  I’d think it would be easier to feed them to the dinosaurs.

We noticed that Soarin’ had a fifteen minute wait all day long, with the exception of directly after we exited it, discouraging us from a second ride.  The place is magical, not perfect.

Next door to energy was Mission Space, a necessity for us.  It’s such a simple concept, yet executed incredibly well. Gary Sinese lent an air of sincerity that carried through the whole mission.  A little shaking and some lights and buttons completed the illusion most impressively.

The option to not accidentally have a heart attack was once more very welcome.  I decided a Barf Bag would be a nifty souvenir. I guess that’s why they use generic, unlabeled ones – to discourage everyone from having the same idea.

Anabelle was too big for the space jungle gym tube thingy (to use a technical term) but we did try out the other post show items.  The Video Postcard machines demonstrated why it is better to have a touch screen than the sporadically active keyboards “Design a Figment” used.  Although since none of them ever arrived, that may not be an accurate assessment.

Surprisingly, Rosa was the first to play the Astro Rescue jet pack video game.  We all scored bonus points on it, but the fact that she led the way into a realm she normally avoids like the plague was yet another instance of Disney Magic.

Rosa wasn’t only full of vacation enchantments, but also Norwegian yumminess.  Anabelle inherited a need for regular feeding times from me, which meant we had to eat something. 

Rosa’s aversion to thrill rides, Anabelle’s indifference to cars, and my long lasting grudge against the loss of Magnetic Levitation Man prevented us from slowing down as we passed Test Track on the way back into World Showcase for some Mexican counter service.

The Cantina de San Angel was half the size it used to be because of the new table service place built into the area.  The menu looked to be also reduced to items only having cheese and chips. I figured since a dinner I wasn’t supposed to eat was predestined; I might as well enjoy it.  Due to rushing and a new metabolism on previous trips, I was somewhere between three and five years overdue for an EPCOT bratwurst and beer.  Remembering how close Mexico, Norway and China were, I was expecting a short jaunt to grab my dinner in Germany while Anabelle started eating.  I had forgotten about the Africa traders and the bridge, which added in an extra half Death March.  It served nicely to walk off the offending meal.

I reached Germany to find that Snow White did greet guests by the wishing well in the shadier part of the day.  I also found some issues with my overdue meal.  I made a bee line to the counter service German place, ordered my Disney dining plan entrée (Bratwurst) beverage (water) and dessert (pretzel) plus the Oktoberfest special brew. 

When the Deutch Lad from Deutchland informed me they only had pretzels outside on the cart, my head nearly exploded.  I had reached crazy hungry somewhere around China, and could not think straight.  After nearly storming out, I luckily came to my senses enough to realize I would either:
A) Pass out before I crossed Africa.
B) Be in a foul enough mood that my family would kill me upon arrival in Mexico.

Some quick recalculations cancelled the beer order, and picked out the cake that looked the most stable for the trip back.  I inhaled the entire liter bottle of water before clearing the checkout line, grabbed napkins without slowing down, and sped to the pretzel cart.  The pretzel was a snack, and the beer was charged to the room with ease.

By that point, instead of asking, I declared to the confused looking German pretzel lass, “I am stealing this tray and hijacking it to Mexico to eat with my family.” 

I did down one mouthful of beer to an “Eins, Zwei, Zuffa” while arranging the tray for balance, but ended up eating the rest of the meal as part of a surreal Mariachi accompanied Oktoberfest.  If I leaned and squinted, I could see the German Pavilion between some trees.

Anabelle’s interpersonal bravery continued to grow. She went up on her own to ask for more cheese.  Then she returned in a panic, because while her Magic Band was authorized for the meal plan, it couldn’t charge the 89 cents back to the room. Still, A for effort.

Considering they were wearing Grand Fiesta Shirts, we had delayed riding the “Mexican Small World” for far too long.  We did two rides in a row, and the Cast Members greeted them both times as the ride’s “Biggest Fans.”
Or whatever that is in Spanish. (Did I mention I suck at languages?)

An attempt to squeeze in the final Duffy Stamp was thwarted by the need for a bathroom break.  Amazingly, China continued to be a potty free zone, forcing us backwards to Norway, and placing a double guarantee on the second EPCOT Death March.

The lagoon torches were impressively lighted, with Venus shining brightly next to a crescent moon.  We could have had a gorgeous viewing spot right where we were, but we had Illuminations FastPass Plusses for the select viewing area.

We worked through the crowd to the spot behind the tower gift shop, and completed the hat trick of wasted EPCOT FastPasses, since the view was no better than the spot we’d left.  Still, it’s always heartwarming watching total strangers act like lifelong friends because they’re sharing Magical Disney Experiences.

The end of Fantasmic went off next door before the start of Illuminations. Standing front row at the mind boggling spectacle of a nightly park finale makes it incredibly obvious how Disney uses a quarter of the world’s fireworks.

After the show we passed through the store, and I hated to ruin the excitement of the Cast Member who though the previous day’s temporary Mickey tattoo was one of my real ones.

The end of the night crowd flowed thickly but easily towards the exit, like ear wearing maple syrup. The giant Siemens logo on the big ball was a good indication that EPCOT was recovering some sponsorship funds.

There was an advantage of taking notes on the fly, to offset the many walls I walked into. Every previous trip to Disney the following happened on the way out of EPCOT at closing time.

I got surprised by the little star lights on the sidewalk.

I took a picture of the little star lights on the sidewalk.

I forgot about the little star lights on the sidewalk.

I deleted the picture of the little star lights on the sidewalk because I had no idea what the heck it was.
Not this time.

We did a bit of brief PhotoPass ninja work before reaching the gate, and went to our assigned stop.  The Cattle Truck like bus waiting was mobbed, prompting us to try the one behind it.  The driver told Anabelle to get off last and she’d give her some transportation cards. 

Unfortunately, the driver was unaware that she was already out of the cards, making the wait for nothing.  Also, the pole I was leaning on ate the center out of my very popular Mickey tattoo.  All in all, it wasn’t our most magical bus ride.

The gift shop trivia board featured questions about The Emperor’s New Groove.  That would be the Disney cartoon set in Peru featuring Looney Tunes levels of silliness.  I struggled under the weight of the reams of stickers we won as I picked up the towels and hot chocolate mugs before meeting the ladies in the pool. 

My Plavix was starting to kick in, leading me to perform the shiver ‘n stroke.

Our new way of preparing for the next morning only needed one hurled object to keep me awake.

For fear of never emerging from coma like Disney slumber without my pre-bedtime nap, I slept with the cell phone we used as an alarm clock clutched tightly in my hand. 

It was my punctuality magic feather.

Disney 2013 Trip Index

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